Volcano Faces St. Jude in Delaware Trial on Patent Claims

Volcano Corp., a maker of cardiac catheter devices, asked a jury to find that its patents were infringed by rival St. Jude Medical Inc. three days after defeating patent claims brought by St. Jude. Volcano shares rose as much as 12 percent.

St. Jude, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, initially sued San Diego-based Volcano in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, in July 2010, alleging violation of patents for wires threaded through blood vessels for diagnosis of heart disease. Volcano countersued, pursuing claims over three patents against St. Jude.

After a week-long trial, a jury decided Oct. 19 that Volcano didn’t infringe two St. Jude patents and that two others were invalid, according to a Volcano filing. Trial on Volcano’s claims began today with a new jury.

Volcano “invented the technology” for the wires and sensors, its lawyer, Frank E. Scherkenbach, told jurors in his opening statement. He said St. Jude’s products “perform substantially the same way.”

‘True Innovator’

St. Jude is “a true innovator,” countered lawyer John Allcock, representing St. Jude, in his initial presentation to the jury. “They came up with a revolution” in heart treatment.

U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews ordered two trials, the latest scheduled to last through the week.

St. Jude, with about $5 billion in revenue last year, said last week it may get a regulatory warning letter about a defibrillator factory in California.

Volcano, with $343.5 million in 2011 revenue, said Oct. 4 it had received clearance to sell a new Visions ultrasound catheter in the U.S. and Europe to help diagnose large-vessel disease.

Shares of Volcano rose $1.89 or 7 percent to $28.74 in trading in New York at 3:58 p.m. St. Jude rose 33 cents to $39.83.

The original case is St. Jude Medical v. Volcano Corp., 10-cv-631, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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